There is a wonderful moment in Creation’s Wonderful Wizard Of Oz when the cameras span the virtual audience while looking for Dorothy’s dog Toto, and you begin to appreciate the scope and breadth of the fans Creation has garnered since the first lockdown.
Families watching together, the young in tinsel and fancy dress, an old lady eating soup with a spoon, another gently falling asleep, small children thrusting their pets into the limelight, couples cuddling on the sofa, they are all here ready to watch Creation’s festive offering.
“Creation’s The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz didn’t disappoint even though this year we were filling a screen rather than an auditorium”
Usually performed in The North Wall, but always eclectic, bohemian, unpredictable, contemporary, organic and adventurous, Creation’s The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz didn’t disappoint even though this year we were filling a screen rather than an auditorium.
Because Creation has taken what was, until recently, the neglected art form of digital theatre by the scruff of the neck and run with it as fast as they can.
Having sharpened their teeth on runaway successes such as The Tempest and Alice to international acclaim, it meant that we, the audience, felt part of something bigger, a community, a collective.
Indeed, there was a real air of expectation as the virtual curtain rose on this unique Zoom production to find teenage Dorothy (the brilliant Chloe Lemonius) alone in her bedroom, bored, impotent and spending too much time indoors online, making her instantly relatable.
Becoming unwittingly embroiled in a dated video game, knocking out the wicked witch and then embarking on a voyage to the Emerald City to enable her to return home, Creation doesn’t veer off L. Frank Baum’s track – the scarecrow, tin man and lion all joining Dot on her adventures as expected.
Except that their journey involves navigating their way through a video game, fending off Space Invaders and Pacmen, the technical designers given free rein to create this ambitious world of online illusions.
“THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ IS CERTAINLY THE BEST WAY TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR CHRISTMAS AND GET IN THE MOOD“
The show also features a community chorus of over 70 young people from all over the country who attended Creation’s online drama workshops.
Interspersed with useful observations and subliminal messages; from Dorothy’s “find out who you are and own it” advice to discussions on the shallowness of social media, self worth debates and our new mantra: “keep on following your own brick road”, slowly the foursome’s goals are achieved.
It means that by the time Dorothy returns home, she reminds us all that while we all have cabin fever, home is ultimately our sanctuary.
Set over two hours, with a 15 minute interval, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz is certainly a commitment, but also a real theatrical extravaganza, with some wonderful music and catchy tunes.
But certainly one of its attractions is that it is very much of the moment, or as the cast say themselves: “We need something to believe in at the moment.”
Either way The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz is certainly the best way to set yourself up for Christmas and get in the mood.
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz runs until January 3 LIVE online via Zoom. Go to https://www.creationtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/wizard-of-oz-2/